#4. McClatchy News Service’s reporting on military justice matters: For as long as I’ve been paying attention to military justice, news reporting on military justice matters has alternated between bad and none. For the most part, the media ignore what Charles Burton called our “well hidden cul-de-sac of American law.” When we do rate a mention, it is usually in the form of a technically dubious story on a sensational court-martial. Or worse, we get what we saw a few weeks ago with the media’s inane teapot tempest over bestiality.
But 2011 also saw some of the most important and well done military justice articles I’ve seen. And they were almost all done by McClatchy. This year’s bumper crop of important stories began in March with the first of several stories this year about problems with USACIL. McClatchy’s best work this year was a series comprehensive and serious-minded articles on the “new” Article 120 and sexual assault prosecutions in the military. The emergence of quality reporting on military justice matters is an important story in itself.